I have been on somewhat of a summer hiatus from writing here. More precisely I am currently in a perpetual state of analysis paralysis, otherwise known as much to say, much to do, so as all “normal” functioning adults do, I freeze up in all the “thinking” about doing and don’t get to the actual doing. So I decided to thaw out a little, with the help of a cup of brew, and put some recent observations down.
This seems to be Little Brother Week. He is a definite work in progress. An enigma, if you will. A child that puts his clothes on backwards, can barely tie his shoes, can’t remember where said shoes are, has a school desk that would make the saltiest teacher weep, and generally is a textbook definition of a “hot mess.”
Remember Napolean? You know the guy from France who story has it was a small man with a big chip or attitude or arrogance. I think they call it “The Napolean Complex”. Yeah, well, possibly we have a classic case right here. Don’t be mistaken, Dear Reader, he is not arrogant, it is hard to be arrogant when your underwear is on backwards. Rather, he is more like a frustrated Little Leprechaun. Because within this little body that falls around the 7 to 10 % range of size for his age, is a head that is the 95th percentile. Hand to God, I have the bladder control to prove it. And within the 95th % head is a brain that thinks and thinks and thinks. And this brain wants to do and be good at many, many things. Usually immediately, out of the starting gate, with no previous experience or extra effort required.
Therein lies the rub. He is a Little Guy that seems to be built for speed and agility. The rub, his big brain doesn’t seem to be able to get this message to his little body. The result, Napolean, who is officially 69 pounds at age of 10, could read an entire playbook and school you on what needs to happen on the field. Rub, he has these tiny hands that seem to deter him from grabbing that ball when thrown his way. I would like to say this only makes him stronger and he says, “throw it again, Coach, I want to try again” but in reality, it goes more like this…Little Brother running away in tears or trying to find a way to make himself disappear in plane sight. Either way, for a kid with a big brain, he has yet to learn that this coping skill fails him every time.
But because we seem to be a family of non-quitters, or just plain foolish, the obvious is now happening…LITTLE BROTHER IS PLAYING TACKLE FOOTBALL…his idea. This is the first week. I can’t watch. I mean it, I can’t. The Captain took him the first two nights but as luck would have it, The Captain played the National Security card and I had to go last night.
The first night of practice, apparently, there were many tears of frustration. Lots of running and drills that he was having trouble signaling his body to do. The Captain, turned him around and sent him back to the field until practice was over. But in true Little Brother fashion he walked off the field that night telling Captain Daddy he wants to be a linebacker. So we returned on Tuesday, cause possibly linebackers are supposed to cry a lot, I mean, I never did understand football. Tuesday there were fewer tears and the Coach asked the eternal question, “How come you can do the complicated footwork drill but not the easy one.” Good question, Coach, when you get the answer, you just might have cracked the code.
Wednesday’s practice was the big guns…full gear…helmet, shoulder pads, mouth guard, practice pants with pads…and Mommy on duty. It was with great trepidation that I set out on this adventure. On the quick ride over he explained to me the probability of “upchucking” during practice, “cause you gotta admit Mom, my stomach isn’t protected and if someone grabs me by the waist and pushes up before they throw me down, and there is any food in there, it is only going to come up.” See what I’m dealing with here, Dear Reader. My response, “that’s nice, now get out there and remember, “it might feel weird, cause you have never worn a helmet before.” And then being a good mom, I looked the other way and deferred all pep talks, lets check that helmet to “The Husband”. “The Husband” is the spouse of “The Friend”, also known as “The Teacher” of the Little Brother for two years. He proved highly qualified, so I hired him.
Mommy always knows best and yes the helmet did squeeze his ears and the weight of it made him look like a human bobble head out there. But the distraction of the helmet proved to keep the tears in and smother the frustration a little because we had what I call success…caught every ball and performed all drills to perfection???…NO! But, NO TEARS, not a one, and that, my friend, was success enough for me.
Getting in the car to go home, he was all smiles when he realized how dirty and gritty and “real football player like” he looked. So, I jumped on the band wagon and attempted a couple of football type questions. His response…”Hey Mom, you know what question is even harder to answer than the meaning of life? What is the exact time that the earth turns on its axis? I mean, you gotta admit, that might be harder to answer.”
Finally, the talk went to football practice…”Hey Mom (he starts every sentence this way), I think I know why my helmet is so tight. It’s cause my head is big from my brains. Must be cause I read a lot. Right, Mom, right? …”Hey Mom, why are you laughing?…”
No reason…I was still thinking about your earlier revelation that “Medieval Architecture reigns supreme” and that “knowledge is tricky cause you always know what you can’t do but you don’t always know what you can do.” And then I was thinking…what a wise Little Leprechaun you are and it is exhausting keeping up with your brain and then I wondered…if Kenny Chesney knew about you when he wrote “Boys of Fall.”